Chief Andrew Uchendu, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, A former member of House of Representatives, representing Ikwere/Emohia Constituency, is currently in the Appeal Court challenging the judgment of the Rivers State House of Representatives Election Petition Tribunal that declared Senator George Sekibo duly elected Senator. In this interview with NWADIKE UGOCHUKWU, Uchendu says PDP thugs did not allow elections to hold in Rivers.
DO you agree with Governor Nyesom Wike that the judgment of the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja was manipulated?
The judgment could have gone either way depending on where the Tribunal laid more emphasis. The first principle I want those who are condemning judgment, those who are rejoicing or those who are praising these judgment, is to take it as given. To the best of that person’s knowledge, most of us that are living in Rivers State realized that there is no part of the country that this judgment has been challenged. There was no election in Rivers State. So, for those who are analyzing and criticizing the judgment, that APC, PDP, campaigned vigorously. The INEC prepared for the election, we all marched down to vote on the day of the election, there were irregularities, ballot boxes were hijacked, and electoral materials were hijacked by the PDP thugs.
If there was no election in Rivers State, how come the election of the PDP Senators in the State and members of House of Representatives were uphold by the Tribunal?
It is regrettable. President Buhari did not involve himself in that case. In my own case, there is hope, the impunity is gone, I have a simple case at the tribunal. The judges know that they will give fair hearing to us. The opposition lawyers were biased. No matter the logic, no matter the facts they know that they would not comfortably deliver what they want. In my case, my lawyer was trying to explain to the opposition lawyers. In the course of explanation to them, they come out and started quarreling with my lawyer, saying that there would be altercation. So, we knew that they will not give favorable judgment. That is why I go went further, I am already at the Appeal court to challenge the judgment.
Do you agree with the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly that the cancellation of the election was injustice, that card reader is not sufficient reason to cancel election?
The issue of the card reader is different in the judgment. There were contested issues of compliance or no compliance to the guidelines; that there was no election to hold when there was no voters’ registration in Rivers State. The same tribunal gave order to the INEC to produce voters register; they failed to bring it based on the voter’s registration. The card reader is only an altercation. So, there were no sufficient voter’s cards in Rivers. After the judgment of the tribunal, the former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, told supporters of All Progressives Congress not to celebrate the judgment on the governorship election. He told them that they have a long way to go when he celebrated the landmark Supreme Court judgment in October 2007.
Do you think the advice is wise or is there something to hide?
That advice came from a responsible leader; it is the advice of somebody who is cautious about the problem in the state. The occasion called for sober reflection, the occasion was made to celebrate the Supreme Court judgment of October 2007, it was an epic event that brought Amaechi into the seat of power as a former Governor of River State. Through the Supreme Court, Amaechi’s mandate to govern the people of Rivers State was restored.
Don’t you think that if the court calls for rerun election in the Rivers State, there may be trouble?
There would not be any problem or trouble. The Police will maintain law and order, such thing will not happen. It will happen when you invite Police to come and cause trouble, harassing people. It is the duty of the Police to protect live and property and not to involve in political activities or taking side. In any free and fair election, the best candidate will emerge.
Wike said that God has given him the mandate to govern the Rivers people and nobody can retrieve the mandate from him. Do you agree?
Wike is not a member of any Church. Whose mandate was given to him? I know Wike very well; I don’t know the church he belongs. Now that he is talking about church, he should let us know the Church he belongs.